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"Katie, it was never uncomplicated."
on April 5, 2004
As stated many times before, THE WAY WE WERE is one of only a handful of romantic blockbusters to actually feature an intelligent script and complex characters. Writer Arthur Luarents' based his screenplay (and subsequent novel) on girl he knew in college, who fought for liberal (and sometimes communist) causes. The film was a surprise box office smash when originally released, and became the fifth-highest grossing film of 1973 and an instant classic. Katie Morosky is a character that Barbra Streisand born play, and she delivers on all accounts. Fierce and determined, yet vulnerable and self-conscious, Katie is a tricky character and Streisand inhabits her so deeply that she seems nothing less than completely believable. Justifiably nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, she was unfortunately robbed of the award.
Redford, who actually turned down the role twice before director and friend Sydney Pollack talked him into taking the part, displays some of the best reflective acting ever seen on the big screen and definitely deserved a nomination as well (he was, however, nominated for Best Actor that year for his light comedic performance in THE STING). The film's enduring popular success with the mass audience is due to the magnetic chemistry between Streisand and Redford and the gorgeous visuals and strong directorial hand supplied by Pollack, however it is the complexity of the romance with politics and the strong characterizations by both leads that continues to make THE WAY WE WERE the best love story for adults.
About the DVD: The picture quality is beautiful, quite possibly the best the film has ever looked. The sound quality is also vastly improved. Pollack's commentary track is interesting, but the 60-minute documentary is the best extra on the disc. Featuring insightful interviews from Pollack, Streisand, and Laurents (as well as composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman) the documentary is well-produced and entertaining, and it was great to finally see those much-debated deleted scenes.